Monday, January 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Grief, anger mark Amit’s funeral
From Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 14 — Widespread grief and anger marked the funeral of six-year-old Amit, whose body was found from the Old Jail complex yesterday after he went missing on Thursday. Thousands people attended the funeral, held at the Gaushala crematorium.

Heart rending scenes were witnessed as the body was laid to rest. It was difficult for friends and relatives to control Mr Rajkumar, the father of the victim, who refused to part with the body of his son.

After the last rites were performed, the people, most of them youths, took out a procession. They blocked the road leading to the CMC. They also raised slogans against the police. The people were angry with the police as it was the seventh incident in the past few months in which a child had been abducted. Some of them, including Amit had been killed.

According to Subash Rajasthani, the children belonging only to the Rajasthani community were being targeted by the anti social elements. He said, of the seven children kidnapped so far three were still battling for life in hospital. One of the children was let off after his tongue was chopped.

Meanwhile, the local police assisted by the officials of the Municipal Corporation, started clearing the Old Jail Complex of the bushes and trees. Residents of the Kote Alamgir area were demanding the demolition of the jail for a long time, as a number of anti-social elements were using it as a hideout.

The Deputy Speaker in the Punjab Legislative Assembly, Mr Satpal Goswami, who represents the area, was also present at the funeral. Expressing his sympathies with the bereaved family, he felt concerned over the deterioration in the law and order situation in Ludhiana.

Later, addressing a function organised by the National Union of Journalists, Mr Goswami pleaded with the Chief Minister, who was also present at the dais, to take note of the situation. He pointed out that this was the seventh incident in the same locality and demanded that the Old Jail complex be demolished.

Some youth present at the funeral tried to vent their anger against the government and administration. One of the youths asked Mr Gosain as to what he had been doing as the issue was brought to his notice on earlier occasions also. Mr Gosain, however, managed to pacify the agitated youth.

Meanwhile, Amit's mother, still in shock, was fainting frequently. The Kot Alamgir area is inhabited mostly by the people from Rajasthan and most of them are in shoe business. Mr Subash Rajasthani alleged that the police was being indifferent to such cases. He also alleged that whenever they had met the previous SHO Randhir Singh, instead of taking any action, he would threaten the people who would complain to him. Randhir Singh has since been placed under suspension.

Meanwhile, the police is yet to make any headway in the case. The new SHO, Mr Hardev Singh, took charge and would be investigating the case. While the details of the post mortem report were still awaited, the doctors said, the child had died of asphyxia after he was strangulated. No further details were available.

the shops in the Kote Alamgir area remained closed today in protest against the incident. Some angry youth created hurdles on the road trying to block the traffic. They also forced some shopkeepers to down their shutters. 


Avtar murder case
Fourth accused surrenders, fifth traced
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 14 — Jaswant Singh Punna, another accused in the Avtar Singh murder case, surrendered in the Division No 5 police station here today. With his surrender, the number of persons arrested in the infamous case has risen to four.

Meanwhile, Parveen Kumar, another accused in the case has been traced at Verka village on the Ludhiana-Amritsar highway. A team will bring him to the city.

According to SSP Kuldip Singh, the accused, a constable with suspended cop Gurmeet Singh Pinki, was working as his security guard and has been detained at the village. According to the FIR, he was with Pinki on Sunday last when Avatar Singh, a city youth, was killed.

However, the main accused, Gurmeet Singh Pinki, is still at large. The police has raided a number of possible hideouts, but success continues to elude it. According to sources, different reports about him were received. While earlier there was an information that he was hiding somewhere in Rajasthan, the latest information was that he was trying to slip into Nepal.

According to an old associate, Pinki has a friend in Nepal. He used to go to him whenever he confronted such a situation. He further said that Pinki was trying to sneak into the neighbouring country, but had not succeeded so far. The police sources said that relatives of the accused were also not available. They too, fearing problems, have left the houses.

The fourth accused, Jaswant Singh Punna, a dairy owner, while talking to mediapersons today gave his account of the sordid shoot-out incident that took place in Maya Nagar last Sunday. According to him the gunshot that presumably killed the youth was fired by some security guard and a serving DSP had just left Pinki’s house after having some drinks with him.

He said he supplies milk to Pinki. On that day also he had gone to deliver it. Pinki offered him a drink and while he was taking it, he heard some gunshots outside. Later on he learnt that some quarrel had taken place among some boys and gunshots were fired. He said as every one was running away, he also chose it better to stay away for few days and went to Amritsar. However, later he decided to surrender in order to provide the ‘correct’ version of the incident.

Rights’ team indicts cops
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 — The Ludhiana police is shielding the accused in the killing of Avtar Singh of Ludhiana. This is the finding of a team of the Lawyers for Human Rights International. The report of the human rights organisation was prepared by Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, Mr Ravinder Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Yogesh Kumar. The team went to Ludhiana and conducted an investigation into the incident in which Inspector Gurmeet Singh allegedly killed a youth Avtar Singh.

The team was assisted by Mr Anil Sharma a social activist. The team examined six material witnesses and hundreds of other residents of the area. The still and video recording of the investigation has been made. The report has observed that the case had exposed the police-criminal nexus.

The board of doctors conducting the post mortem examination tried to manipulate the record. First, they ignored the fact as to which wound was firm. But later on due to public pressure records were corrected.


BKU demands CBI probe
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 14 — Demanding a CBI probe in the paddy-purchase scandal worth crores, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has threatened that it would move courts as well as the Human Rights Commission, if the government failed to relent.

The BKU president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, and the secretary general, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, said in a joint statement here yesterday that a large number of farmers had submitted affidavits to the BKU, alleging deduction of ‘government expenses’ from the payments made to them for paddy. An emergency meeting of the union has been called here on Jan 15 to discuss the matter and to chalk out a strategy for the future course of action against the exploitation of farmers.

The BKU activists further criticised the union government for its failure to announce support prices for wheat and other kharif crops, saying these were tactics intended to discourage farmers. “If the government persisted with its anti-farmer policies and in return, the farmers chose to stay away from wheat cultivation, the country will have to face a famine-like situation.”

According to Mr Kadian, the BKU in its meeting on January 15, will discuss among other issues, the desired support prices for all kharif crops, including wheat. On the basis of 1966-67 price index, the price of wheat should be fixed at Rs.932 per quintal and the BKU would take up the matter with the Centre, seeking remunerative prices for all farm products.

BKU leaders disclosed that the entire farming community in the country would got together at one platform to raise its voice against the anti-farmer policies of the government. As a first move against dumping of cheap farm produce in the country, farmers would hold a protest demonstration at Mumbai port and would force ships, loaded with foreign farm products, to go back. Indiscriminate imports of cheap agricultural produce, would wreck the farming community and throw the agricultural economy out of gear, they asserted.

Mr Lakhowal said the BKU would launch a Rath Yatra from Jammu to Mumbai to mobilise farmers against the short-sighted policies of the government. Prior to the Rath Yatra, which would reach Mumbai for the national level protest at the port, the BKU would organise rallies at Amritsar, Ludhiana and Sangrur.


‘Pilferage makes electricity dear’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 14 — Power thefts in Punjab occur to the tune of Rs 500 crore annually which if controlled could help in significant slashing of the current power tariff, said Mr Sikandar Singh Maluka, Power Minister, Punjab.

The minister was addressing a gathering on the occasion of a free medical camp organised by the Ludhiana Cultural and Social Welfare Club at Rishi Nagar, here today.

He said the electricity rates in the state where the lowest in the country. He further said that while the previous government had introduced a hike of 48 per cent in power rates, only 22 per cent increase in rates had been made by the present government.

Mr Maluka appreciated the efforts of the club for organising free medical check-up camps and other social and cultural activities. He announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for the club.

Dr Sunil Mittu, president of the club, said that nearly 1000 people were checked for heart diseases and other ailments. X-ray, ECG and other tests were performed free of cost. Dr Gurpreet Singh Wander, a cardiologist at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Dr R.S. Bal, general physician, Dr Rajnish Uppal, heart specialist, and Dr Neeru Mittu, gynaecologist, participated in the camp.


PAU scientists’ advice to farmers

In view of the severe cold wave in the region, scientists of the PAU have cautioned people, particularly farmers, about proper care of animals. This assumes importance in view of the death of seven cows in a local gaushala and that of a peacock at the tiger safari near Jalandhar Bypass.

Scientists suggest vaccination against foot and mouth disease, the most dangerous and common killer of the cattle. Animals should be vaccinated against FMD after every six months.

PAU scientists maintained that due care needs to be taken against the severe cold that had gripped the region during recently. They said animals need to be protected from direct cold wind. Animals must be kept roof during the night and out in the sun during day time. Animals must be covered with rags or a cloth in extreme cold. This was necessary in view of the animals being kept in the open in most villages. Scientists advise that special care should be taken of new-born calves and at no cost should be they exposed to the cold weather as they are susceptible to pneumonia and other diseases. They must be kept warm by providing clean and dry bedding. They should also be given Vitamin ‘A’ concentrate dose of 1ml daily in milk, for three days, to be repeated after a month.

They said, sore, chopped, cracked or injured teats should be treated with glycerine after every milking.

Scientists also suggest several measures for safeguarding poultry from cold and other diseases. They advised that curtains should be provided at the windows in poultry sheds. The temperature should not go below 6 degree Celsius inside the poultry sheds and suitable measures like doubling of curtains should be taken.

Chicks must be kept warm by giving them artificial heat, according to the requirements of their age. Poultry ration should have more energy content by increasing cereals by 5 to 8 per cent in the ration by reducing the amount of rice bran. — FOC 


Industrialist missing
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 14 — Mr Darshan Singh (46), a local industrialist and father of four children, has been missing since January 9. He had left his factory, Globe Automat, situated at National Street in the evening on his scooter (PAI-2183).

His brother, Mr Jagdish Rai, did not suspect foul play. He said he had inquired from his relatives and friends but could not trace him.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case.


Three missing girls recovered
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 14 — Three girls and two boys, who had gone missing from a village under Sarabha Nagar police station here on Friday, were brought here by the police party led by Inspector Pawanjit Singh.

However, taking into consideration their minor status they have been freed.


Charitable organisations will be encouraged: Arora
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 14 — Mr. N.K. Arora, Principal Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab, has assured to regularise the change of land use by those organisations which were providing outstanding service to humanity.

Mr Arora was addressing a function at Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital after inaugurating a new Auto Analyser installed at a cost of Rs 45 lakh on Saturday.

Appreciating the work being done by the management of Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital for providing super specialty medical services at reasonable rates to the poor patients, Mr. Arora said that such dedicated charitable organisations were the real asset of society, which should be further strengthened for their optimum utilisation .

Speaking on the occasion Dr S.S. Sandhu, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, and assured that the Municipal Corporation would also extend all kinds of help in improving the sanitary conditions in the area.

Dr Waheguru Pal Singh , Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Mrs. G.K. Walia, Principal, Nursing Institute, highlighted the achievements of the institution during the last 10 years.

Among others who addressed the function included Mr. M.M. Vyas, Chairman Improvement Trust Ludhiana, Bakshi Mohinder Singh, President, Managing Committee, and Mr Bharatvir Singh Sobti.


Living by crushing juice out of cane

Earlier, whenever people suffered from jaundice, they were advised to drink as much sugar-cane juice as possible. But today doctors recommend less intake of the juice as the sugarcanes are not washed properly and stored at unhygienic places. This affect the business of juice sellers too.

Ram Avtar, a migrant from UP, along with his 10-year-old daughter, trudges from one street to another selling the juice. He said, “I do not know how many kilometres I walk every day. I only know that I start walking at 10 am and walk till 6 pm. I sell a glass of juice for Rs 4. But in summers when I mix ice in the juice, I reduce the price to Rs 3 per glass. My job is tough and laborious. My wife died two years ago. But ever since her death, I take my daughter along. Although she gets very tired and exhausted but there is no other alternative.”

He lamented,“I generally buy half a quintal of sugarcane which costs Rs 150. Moreover, I have to spend money on diesel to run the machine so I hardly earn enough if you go by the hard labour that I put in.”

He said, “When we reach home, both of us are dead tired. We cannot afford to buy food. So somehow we make a few chapatis which we eat with a mixture of salt and red chillies cooked along with onions. We have no time for any sort of entertainment. Our life is just like a machine.”

There are many juice sellers who have installed crushers. They are better off as they have permanent clients.

— By Asha Ahuja


Grain market goes to seed
From Our Correspondent

JAGRAON, Jan 14 — Lala Lajpat Rai Grain Market, once ranked among the biggest grain markets of the northern India, is a picture of neglect and utter chaos these days.

Established in 1904, the market gradually picked up enough trade to be known as one of the biggest grain markets of the region with about 200 shops and houses. Things were all right till this mandi was denotified by the Punjab Government and a new grain market was set up only 800 metres away. The traders were forced to stop their business in the old mandi and to buy shops and booths in the new market.

The old mandi gradually lost its identity and became a deserted place. The Municipal Council, for its own benefits, allowed some people to raise constructions in a haphazard manner imparting an ugly look to it. So much so that it has now become the most dirty area of the town.

Stinking garbage dumps can be seen all over the place. Rain makes things worse as there is no proper drainage system. Water enters shops causing damage to the stocks. The condition of the roads is pathetic. No carpeting has been done for over a decade and these are full of potholes and ditches. Stray cattle add to the woes of the public. The tempo and mini truck unions park vehicles in the mandi which are another source of pollution and irritation to the residents.

Residents feel that ‘denotifying’ has not only reduced the trade to a virtual nil, it has also closed the doors to any development of the place. Under the circumstances, they wonder whether it was justified on the part of the authorities to collect any sort of cess or tax from the residents.

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